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I have an app that has several features that users will (hopefully) like, but are likely to miss. I'd like to tell them about these features. How would that be achieved with minimal spamminess?

I considered many options but couldn't find one that seems both effective and minimal. Including: the download page (will anyone read/remember that?), popup tips every so often (too intrusive), a welcome page (will anyone read that?),...

Any ideas?

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    what is your app about? what are your target user profiles? how is your app-designed? lot of things are missing in your question. Please update your question to add these data. – gurvinder372 Dec 30 '15 at 12:46
  • Imagine Firefox. Users are non-techies. And for a feature - Ctrl-Shift-T. – ispiro Dec 30 '15 at 12:51
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    A tour option on first startup and later accessible in settings could be a neat way to do it. But in reality if not knowing whether or not these features would be FOUND you are doing something fundamentally wrong! they are appear tly not useful enough to be used intuitively just by using the app so the maybe should not be there at all – downrep_nation Dec 30 '15 at 13:55
  • @downrep_nation Thanks. Your tour option (with later availability) sounds good. There might not be a perfect solution for this problem. – ispiro Dec 30 '15 at 18:32
  • This is a very opinion based question. Have you shown mock-ups to your users (or people matching the expected user profile)? – Mayo Dec 30 '15 at 22:47
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Utilize all your options

When it comes to the "best" option, there really isn't one that is going to be best in every case. It's mainly about picking the option that best fits the new feature you have, so technically, depending on the types of new features you release, you could utilize all of the methods you already listed, and should.

Is it an additional option to an existing action?

A popup would do the trick. Taking an example from Facebook, when a new feature was released for the status update, the popup was only shown when the user clicked to preform that action, keeping a clean user flow, instead of instantly showing the popup. The popup gave a brief description of the new feature, and provided options for the user to gain further knowledge on the feature by taking a tour, or view a page that lists all of the changes specifically, and of course, an option to ignore it.

Facebook Example


Is it a whole new section/page that the user hasn't seen before?

A modal popup that dims the background and brings full attention to the message is what I'd suggest. You won't want the user coming back or venturing off into the unknown (to them) and getting stuck or confused, guide them immediately on all of the new steps and features added, or allow them to venture themselves, their choice.

HubSpot Example


Is it a feature that doesn't affect the users day-to-day tasks?

It may be too intrusive (like you mentioned) to keep nagging the user about all the new features every little second, you wouldn't want the user getting angry as a result of that. A solution would be to have a dedicated page that lists out all of the new features in a comfortable, readable way, and allow the user to explore those features if so desired. This conforms to the user, and allows them to make the decision without any forceful popups.

The page for the new features of El Capitan from Apple is a good example, it lists out all the features Mac already has (Calendar, Mail) and expands on all of the new ones in a very simple way. If your able to provide feature tours, include the links under each section so the user can learn more.

Apple Example

To avoid this page not being read or identified, a simple welcome message/alert box when they login, visit a page should suffice. Keep in mind the type of features you released as well, if you alert this message on the home view, and the features released have nothing to do with that section, it could cause confusion. Instead, only show the message to the sections the feature(s) relates to. Note the x icon on the alert for users to close the message out of view.

mockup

download bmml source – Wireframes created with Balsamiq Mockups

  • Thanks. Using all options might be too intrusive, even a pop up for an existing function (e.g. the user knows how to open a closed browser tab through a context menu, but gets a pop up notifying him of a keyboard shortcut). And a welcome screen informing him of a page with new features might be automatically closed and forgotten. But I guess I'm looking for something non-existent, so +1, because you raise valid points. Thanks again. – ispiro Dec 30 '15 at 18:22
  • It depends on how you implement it. If it's a feature that adds to the flow and experience, and helps them complete a task faster/better, I don't see how it would be perceived as intrusive, unless it was a feature that had nothing to do with the task they were trying to complete. It adds an additional step initially for the user to continue with, or ignore, but then they never get the popup again, gain the knowledge of the new feature, and move on with their task. Also all of the popups are before any action is done, so nothing is blocking them from completing a task midway. – Cody Brantley Dec 30 '15 at 18:34
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Maybe you should inform them about features via special e-mail with guides or use inbox (if your app had an inbox). You can also make a test or interview with group of your user - every feedback is very useful. Maybe only in your opinion those features are so useful.

  • noone wants to get spammed with emails telling him about "cool features in some app" i think this is a horrible idea – downrep_nation Dec 30 '15 at 19:11

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